VP slot: PDP in turmoil over Atiku’s rejection of Wike
The last has not been heard about the internal wrangling within the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.
If comments and actions of leading figures in the party are anything to go by, the crisis of confidence over the outcome of the party’s presidential primary and the selection of the party’s running mate has not abated.
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State in an interview with Arise Television, revealed that all is not well within the party.
This became evident when only one of the party’s 12 governors, who are members of the 128-man Osun Governorship Campaign Council, attended its inauguration at the party’s National Secretariat, yesterday.
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This happened as the party dismissed as balderdash reports that National Chairman of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, had been sacked.
Ortom had in the televised interview, expressed disappointment that the party leadership was yet to address the concerns of members.
He cited an example with the decision of the party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, to ignore the choice of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State as running mate.
He said: “I was among the 17-member committee set up by Atiku and 14 of us in the committee said the person should be Wike. Unfortunately, Atiku picked Okowa in his wisdom.
“You cannot ignore the decision of a committee you set up yourself and expect people to be happy. For now, I have gone into hibernation.”
Asked if he would support the PDP candidate in the 2023 elections, he said: “I am in hibernation. I am praying. When I finish the prayers, whatever God directs me to do, I will do. We expect Atiku to do more but we are not seeing that.”
In response to a question on claims that Wike was avoiding people from Atiku’s camp, who had made many attempts to reach him, Ortom said: “They should stop that. Atiku should go to him; why won’t he ignore their calls? Is that not an insult? Wike is a pillar in the party; currently, nobody in the party has contributed more for the party to move forward than Wike.
“If Atiku was not going to honour the decision of the committee, he should have called Wike earlier and informed him. He didn’t do that; you can’t do things anyhow and expect us to be happy.”
Govs shun inauguration of Osun Campaign Council
A few hours after the interview, the party’s National Working Committee, NWC, inaugurated the Osun Governorship Campaign Council.
Only the Taraba State Governor, who is the vice chairman of the Duoye Diri-led Council, attended the event.
In an address at the inauguration, the party’s presidential running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, charged members of the council to work hard to deliver Osun State to the PDP.
While calling for vigilance, Okowa said: “We are very much aware of the events that took place four years ago. There is no doubt that PDP won that election but unfortunately, we were cheated out of the election. As we move into another election, we are confident that if all of us stay committed to the party we will be able to deliver the victory for our party.
“Osun State obviously is a PDP state. We have great leaders who have a very clear understanding of the politics in that state.
“I want to urge all our leaders and our followers in the state to please quickly bridge the gaps of divide among us because victory stares us right in the face. God has gone ahead of us. It is for us to follow the wish of God and to deliver the state to the PDP.”
He admitted that there was still a lot of work to be done but expressed confidence that members of the council were equal to the task.
He appealed to members to ensure they were on ground to support the party and its candidate during the election.
In his remarks, the Deputy National Chairman (North), Umar Damagun, reminded members of the council that their main task is to deliver for the party.
“I believe with the calibre of people that have been selected to steer this campaign organisation, I have no doubt that you will give us the desired result,” he said.
Also, the National Organising Secretary of the PDP, Umar Bature said: “This campaign Council after inauguration will move to the field to make sure that Osun State is captured. As we are all aware, our victory in the 2019 elections was taken away, but we are more than confident this time around and it will be extremely difficult for anybody to take away our victory.”
PDP dismisses Ayu’s purported sack
Meanwhile, National Working Committee, NWC, of the PDP, has dismissed reports in a section of the media suggesting that Dr. Iyorchia Ayu had been suspended.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Debo Ologunagba, said in a statement, yesterday: “Such report is completely false and a product of the imagination of mischief makers with the intent to destabilise our party, create an impression of crisis within our ranks and mislead unsuspecting members of the public.
“It is clear that the false report is the handiwork of vicious anti-people forces, who are agitated by the stability, unity and soaring popularity of our party under the cohesive Ayu-led National Working Committee, as well as the intimidating statures of our presidential and vice presidential candidates, Atiku Abubakar and Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa respectively.
“For clarity, our National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, is on a short vacation outside the country and he officially transmitted power to the Deputy National Chairman (North), Umar Damagum, to perform his duties in acting capacity pending his return, in line with the provision of the constitution of the PDP 2017 (as amended). ”
“It is instructive to state that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,was duly informed of the absence of our National Chairman and that Amb. Damagun will be performing the duties of the National Chairman in acting capacity pending Dr. Ayu’s return.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the PDP and the NWC is united and Dr. Iyorchia Ayu remains the National Chairman. Dr. Ayu took a well-deserved, two-week leave on 21st June, 2022. He will be back next week to resume duties, specifically on July 6, 2022.”